And Gutenberg Lived Here: Two Tales And A London Cabbie

Today started,

as days often start in my world,

with me with my hand stuck in the coffee machine.

Actually, it is not all that wild of a story,

infinitely logical even-

Harald the mathematician’s comment when I told him about it-

Thank you Mr Spock.

So anyway,

there I was with my hand in the coffee machine,

trying to check the water level

since I hadn’t slept well,

and didn’t want to wake others in the household

by turning on the lights-

open circular floor plan-

the kitchen light floods the bedrooms-

but still wanted to get the coffee on

before I sat down to write.

And watch the sun come up.

You get the picture.

So there I am,

with my hand caught in the water container thingy part of the coffee maker,

coffee scoop in the other…


it all worked out.

There is coffee,

even though I only drink tea,

(the coffee was for the others when they get up, so they don’t stop me writing by asking where the coffee is)

and you can’t really get your hand caught in a teapot.

I actually have known cats,

and small children,

who have gotten their heads stuck in there-

just butter them up good.

And throw a blanket on the cat

so it doesn’t decided to smear the butter on the nearest curtains.

So where were we?

Oh yes,

the fact that I’m about to tell the tale of the London cabbie adventure.

And if you think that London cabbies aren’t something pretty marvelous,

about in the same category as Jhins,

or ghins,

or maybe gins,

depending on how you want to spell it…


by proven scientific study,

probably Kings College London,

where they trained the computer specialists whose sole job it is to  make Lara Croft’s breasts wiggle

I kid you not,

so in this study,

they discovered that London is so massive,

and difficult to manage driving in,

that the cabbies  have developed extra brain parts,

lobes, synapses, you figure it out,

just to handle it.


Which was probably why,

when Harald and I got into the cab,

because there was a murder going on,

well, not actually when we got into the cab.

But there was a murder.

On the tracks.

Of the Dockland Light Railway.

The one we had to take to get the plane.

Back home to Gutenberg Land.

And no bus went there.

And so,

we bit the bullet,

or actually,

more like the wallet,

thin enough already we easily got it into our mouths,

and got in the cab.

Which, in my opinion,

was the best spent money for the whole trip.


Now, I am a story-teller.

From a long line of scops, bards, whatever you want to call them.

We see the world as it really is…

Not computerized,

or nasty

and full of stalkers,



who want you to see the world their way.

There are still some of us out there,

the scop and bard people,

who see that the world is full of glory

and joy,

and that you have to choose who and what you want to be connected with.

And, at the moment,

Harald and I were in a cab.

Connected to one of the great seers,

in the sense of he who sees things right to the core in seconds,


who can really tell a story,

and scops,

who know the entire lineage and history of a people,

and can extract,

and extrapolate,

at will.


Hats off to the cabbies.

Or actually this cabbie.

Who told us,

Scheherazade style,

the story of the docklands,

the bombs found there that people had been living on top of since the war

(and didn’t explode!)

the bravery of his family,

who called each other across town every day from a phone booth

since their houses had been destroyed

and they were living rough

and not allowed to leave the area.

The story of how he liked Germans anyway.

Since they both drank beer and watched football,

and what else is there that is really important in life,

although he didn’t really like the French much.

Then he told us of the tower,

tossed in a couple of thousand years of English history,


just as we arrived at the airport,

explained the British attitude to Brexit-

his dad voted to not join,

he voted to join,

now both of them voted to leave.

Because they were just fed up to the gill slits with politicians,

who were often so privileged,

or so busy working their way up,

and maintaining their positions,

that they never listened to real people,


even if the situation really is that complicated,

and they really do need experts to understand it,

might just once in their lives like to take a look at the situation,

not what the politicians want them to know,

because politicians go by polls,

that tell them the votes of the people of London are enough

to balance the entire rest of the country.


And that on the weekend, the disenchanted,

and a large percentage of the younger voters,

were going to vote for an old-time liberal-socialist

just because they don’t see him as a politician.

And that he probably might even win.

(Which he did.)

And somehow,

as he talked,

weaving his magic tale

of  the past,

the present,

murders, taxes, riots, uprisings,


and basic truths,

deeds of great honor,

and even worse dishonor,

and politicians who think the people are too dumb to understand…

this all started to feel

in a sort of mystical,


here we are in a situation I never would have thought us to be in,

in a marvelous traditional black London cab,

a sort of flying carpet

where someone reads our wishes

and drops us at the door,

enabling us to go to another continent,

and even entertains us,


with magical stories

of magical lands

that don’t exist.

Or do they….?

And somehow,

in that most magical of all magical moments,

just between cab from reality to plane to reality,

this all started to feel,

to an American,

just the teensiest little bit familiar.

Ps. According to Harald, coffee tastes better when it has a personal touch.

More on the magic of London tomorrow.

copyright 2016


One thought on “And Gutenberg Lived Here: Two Tales And A London Cabbie

  1. Glad to hear you’re still enjoying London. I once saw something in a documentary in a science documentary about London cabbies. It said that because they have to know so many streets, they develop incredible memories and often know a lot about a whole range of subjects. It sounds like you’ve had a demonstration already. 🙂


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